Marketing, marketing, MARKETING! That’s what we as modern L&D Pros hear daily.
It’s been an industry topic for nearly a decade.
I love marketing. I talk about it a lot. Marketing frameworks have helped me accelerate my L&D career. The thing is marketing is not the cure to all our problems in the vast world of learning.
You don’t need to be a marketer.
Yet, learning a few frameworks from our friends here can help you in the world of L&D. We live in an attention economy. If a piece of content doesn’t pass the instant gratification test, we throw it into a black hole.
So, building awareness of all those learning products into which we pour our soul is a benefit, really.
You don’t want to spend time building an amazing learning experience just for it to get no engagement, right? If you build it, no one will come.
Unless you know how to build awareness.
Let’s focus on how you can build awareness to drive the value of your products.
Marketing Is HUGE
The problem with a lot of the “L&D needs to do marketing” advice I see online can be broken down into 2 areas:
- Saying “L&D needs to do marketing” is a captain obvious statement. We all know this. How about providing some direction?
- It’s not specific enough. The world of marketing is huge. So, for the modern L&D pro, what are the most useful areas for you?
Some areas of marketing include:
- Outbound marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Email marketing
- Brand marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Stealth marketing (Ok, I might have made that one up)
You get the picture, right?
Not everything under the umbrella of marketing is right for you.
I want to be specific and break down one type of marketing that I believe works for our industry.
Content Marketing Explained
Our friends at Hubspot (an all-knowing and cool marketing company) summarise content marketing as:
“Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content via channels such as social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, apps, press releases, print publications, and more.
The goal is to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty.”Hubspot
Does any of this sound familiar?
Now, some of you might be thinking “But. I’m a learning designer. I don’t need to know how to raise awareness of my work”. What are you…crazy? You do!
You might not realise it, but we’re marketing all the time.
- We market our skills to potential employers.
- We market our careers when building a case for promotion.
- We market our compatibility when convincing our crush to go on a date.
Each of these is a piece of marketing.
L&D is no longer about design alone. You need to know how to position a product.
No matter if that product is you or what you’ve created.
Now, content marketing is best placed for L&D because it focuses on maximising awareness of your current assets to deliver value to users.
The important word here is value.
You can use all the marketing tactics you want. But if your experience or product sucks. It will still suck, no matter how many keywords or fancy visuals you used to promote it.
In summary, content marketing does what it says on the tin.
Market your content. Simple.
Content Marketing: How to use it in L&D
Ok, let’s get into the good stuff!
At its core, content marketing focuses on providing people with information that educates, inspires, informs and empowers.
Not much to ask for, right?
We can use this in both digital and physical experiences. Like content from your local learning platform or hyping up your next live workshop.
Content marketing can be both educational and entertaining. The best content marketing is a mix of both.
Types Of Content Marketing
We have a lot at our disposal with CM.
This commonly includes:
- Blog posts
- Infographics (are these still a thing?)
Plenty for you to sink your teeth into.
Don’t be limited by picking one or two. Try them all out and find what works for your context.
Content Marketing Benefits
So many, my friends.
Here are some of my favourites:
- Build L&D brand awareness
- Surface value-add content that would otherwise be lost
- Build trust within your company
- Convert more people to accessing useful stuff
- Maximise ROI on your learning content and experiences
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m sure you’ll discover more in your own journey.
Getting started with content marketing
Right, you’ve had your crash course in content marketing.
Now it’s time to put what you’ve learnt into practice. Lucky for me (and you), I’ve compiled a bunch of resources on bringing CM into the L&D world already.
Check out my in-depth breakdown of 3 Steps To Better Content Marketing For Learning Teams. Complete with examples and templates for you to steal.
Plus, you can check out my step-by-step video tutorial on content marketing best practices for L&D pros below.
Happy learning, friends.
Build your content marketing skills
Some of my favourite places to keep learning include:
- Get specific on how marketing can help you.
- Test and learn. Find what works for you.
- Keep learning.